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Arrowheads and Spear Points in the Prehistoric Southeast

A Guide to Understanding Cultural Artifacts

Publication Year: 1993

The Native American tribes of what is now the Southeastern United States left intriguing relics of their ancient cultural life. Arrowheads, spearpoints, stone tools, and other artifacts are found in newly plowed fields, on hillsides after a fresh rain, or in washed-out creekbeds. These are tangible clues to the anthropology of the Paleo-Indians, and the highly developed Mississippian peoples.This indispensable guide to identifying and understanding such finds is for conscientious amateur archeologists who make their discoveries in surface terrain. Many are eager to understand the culture that produced the artifact, what kind of people created it, how it was made, how old it is, and what its purpose was.Here is a handbook that seeks identification through the clues of cultural history. In discussing materials used, the process of manufacture, and the relationship between the artifacts and the environments, it reveals ancient discoveries to be not merely interesting trinkets but by-products from the once vital societies in areas that are now Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas, as well as in southeastern Texas, southern Missouri, southern Illinois, and southern Indiana.The text is documented by more than a hundred drawings in the actual size of the artifacts, as well as by a glossary of archeological terms and a helpful list of state and regional archeological societies.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 5


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pp. 7-9

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pp. 11-12

Virtually everyone growing up in the United States becomes fascinated with the American Indians. That fascination is often intensified by the accidental discovery of prehistoric materials such as arrowheads and spear points, artifacts that have survived to tantalize the modern inhabitants of the lands once occupied by ...

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pp. 13

Many different people contributed to the writing of this book. Foremost, I want to thank all the professional and non-professional archaeologists who have contributed to our understanding and appreciation of southeastern archaeology. Without them, this ...

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1. Some Basic Principles of Archaeology

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pp. 17-29

Any discussion begins with certain basic assumptions, the most basic being that the participants will be speaking the same language. Much of the literature available on the prehistory of the southeastern United States was written by archaeologists for other archaeologists or for college students specializing in archaeology. It was written in their jargon. Although the ...

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2. The First Immigrants

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pp. 30-39

Man did not originate in the New World, or at least there is no scientific evidence to support such a theory. All of the skeletal remains of people found in the Americas are decidedly Homo sapiens sapiens, modern man. There are no Homo erectus or Neanderthal remains found here, for example. It naturally follows then, that they had to come ...

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3. The Paleo-lndians

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pp. 40-47

The Paleolithic period gets its name from the Greek words, paleo, meaning ancient, and lithic, meaning stone. The compound word, Paleo- Indian, simply means the ancient native Americans who are said to have lived during the Paleolithic period. The beginning of the Paleolithic in the New World begins with the first settlers there. As we have seen, the ...

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4. The Archaic Stage

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pp. 48-61

As the Pleistocene ended and the Holocene, or recent epoch, began about 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, many of the megafauna had become or were becoming, extinct, primarily because of a change in the climate as the earth warmed. The glacial ice began to retreat further northward, and correspondingly, the sea levels rose as the melting ...

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5. The Woodland Stage

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pp. 62-70

The transition between the Archaic and the woodland stages is generally tied to the introduction of pottery, and because pottery appeared in different areas at different times, the date of the end of the Archaic and the beginning of the Woodland also varies. The earliest pottery in the Southeast was found in the Stallings Island culture, located in ...

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6. The Mississippian Stage

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pp. 71-76

The Mississippian stage began about 700-800 A.D. in the central Mississippi Valley. Dan and Phyllis Morse write (1983) that it was "a new way of life and embraced kinds of technology and a new relationship to the environment. It was undoubtedly the closest that the prehistoric Central Valley came to a cultural revolution, as contrasted ...


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pp. 77-80

Appendix A: Additional Projectile Points

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pp. 81-82

Appendix B: State Archaeologists in the Southeast

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pp. 83-86

Appendix C: Museums with Southeastern Archaeological Collections

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pp. 87-102


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pp. 103-112


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pp. 113-117

E-ISBN-13: 9781604734850
E-ISBN-10: 160473485X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780878056385
Print-ISBN-10: 0878056386

Publication Year: 1993